The airport of Bagan is tiny. There is no computer visible everything is done by hand, I even got a handwritten ticket. The luggage is loaded on a cart manually and brought to the plane. You have to put a sticker on your shirt like for one of those group tours which states the airline and your destination. It is quite funny! I was flying with Mann Yadarnarpon Airlines. We stopped once in Heho to let passengers out and in. We got snacks on both flights which was nice. We landed in Thandwe almost on time and I took a TukTuk to the Northern Star Guesthouse. The room had no window and the shared bathroom was very basic with only ice cold water, the toilets not exactly clean. It is directly at the main road so rather loud, but you just have to cross that road and you are at the beach. It was not the best accommodation for sure, but I had a huge bed to myself in a room for myself for about 33€ for 4 nights (for Ngapali that is rather on the cheap side). After checking in and a little rest I had lunch in the adjoined restaurant. Food was ok, but not the best. I met a French woman name Sandra there who was also staying at this place. After I walked along the beach for a while, had a swim and did some reading
before watching the sunset at the beach.
In the evening it cooled down quite a bit so the cold shower was not exactly nice. I went next door to the Sea Queen Restaurant. That is rather famous and busy and serves very nice food. I got grilled King Prawns with an Avocado Shake. For desert they served water melon for free and you also got a bracelet out of shells and a few bananas. I paid 5,20€ in total. In the restaurant I chatted with two Italian guys. After dinner I went back to the hostel and after a while to bed. Breakfast was not included in the Northern Star Guesthouse. They only had a breakfast menu in Burmese with only local things like rice and stuff, so I only ordered a coconut and got some snacks from the super market next door.
That day I went exploring on foot. I just walked south along the coast.
It was very hot. At the first bigger bay I reached I walked to the beach. There is one resort next to another, but the beach is very nice and there are a few local restaurants too. I had a fruit shake at one of the places, chilled in a bamboo chair in the shade and read. Later I also went for a swim.
Then I continued on the road further south, the last 2-3 km I walked along the beach again until I reached the Fisherman Village. It was interesting to see but also very dirty there.
I walked back to the main beach there and had dinner in the Sunset View Restaurant (the original one). I had a great Barracuda filet with rice and vegetables, water and a cocktail. They also had free desert, here it was fried banana. For all that together I paid the same price as for my dinner the night before.
I had discovered a sign for a hostel (the one and only in Ngapali and rather new) and went there after dinner in the hope to find someone to team up with for a boat trip. They were fully booked, so I couldn´t stay. Was a pity, since it was so much nicer than my place. It would have been a dorm bed instead of a room to myself for the same price but included breakfast, free drinking water, tea and coffee all day, working WiFi, hot clean showers and a common room to meet other people. The WEStay Chillax Hostel had a boat tour advertised but unfortunately nobody had signed up for it for the following two days. Since it was another 7-8 km to walk back and it was completely dark already, I decided to take a TukTuk back to my Guesthouse. I needed to wash my hair so I asked for some hot water in a tea pot and had a bucket shower mixing the hot water with the cold water. The next day I got a free bicycle from the guesthouse and drove back to the WEStay Chillax hostel to see if somebody enrolled for the boat trip. There was nobody but I put Sandra´s and my name down in the hope that somebody else would sign up too. I cycled to the “lighthouse” which is somewhere in the fisher village.
The bike I got was out of air within minutes and I had to pump it up several times. To the standing Buddha I walked in the end. Had a few snacks at the beach sharing with some local boy.
At the next place where I asked for air the guy pulled out the whole valve, ripped something off it and put it back. He pumped it up and at least it lasted for a few hours this time. I cycled back to the smaller of the two beaches of the day before, had a fruit shake, had a swim and read in the sun to dry before I had a beautiful oil massage for one hour for 8000 instead of 15000 Kyat due to my haggling skills. For sunset I had a Pina Colada.
Mario (one of the Italian guys) walked past and told me they would go to the Sea Queen again today. I cycled back before it got completely dark. Later I went to the Sea Queen and had dinner with Mario and Maurice. The Prawn Curry was delicious! After that I organized the boats tour for Sandra and me for the next day and went to bed. Next day Sandra and I got bikes and cycled to the hostel were we met our boat driver at 9 am. We went out on the boat, snorkeling at two places. Snorkeling wasn´t exactly great there, not much to see. Just a lot of plastic in the water we made a sport out of collecting. My fins were a joke, the smallest I ever had.
On the way back we stopped at Pearl Island for a while. Beautiful beach, beautiful view. Unfortunately the only bar on the island is rather expensive.
We went back to the mainland and got our bikes at the hostel. We went to the big beach and had lunch in a restaurant there. We chilled on the beach. Sandra went back to the guesthouse eventually because she didn´t feel too well. I stayed at the beach, chilling and reading. When I was looking for a nice happy hour cocktail, I bumped into Mario and Maurice again. Later I went again to the Sunset View for dinner and cycled back. The next morning after going to the beach a last time,
I checked out and Coco – the owner of the Northern Star Guesthouse – gave me a free lift to the airport with his motorbike. The airport is even smaller then in Bagan and security a joke. I was flying with the same airline again and with 50 minutes delay landed in Yangon for my last two days in Myanmar.